Senator Formica Leads Senate Passage of Energy Stability Bill to Protect Ratepayers, Preserve Millstone’s Presence in CT

June 7, 2017

Hartford – Today the state Senate approved legislation initiating an appraisal to determine what actions are needed to preserve Millstone Power Station’s presence in Connecticut. The legislation requires the state implement changes to support Millstone if determined to be in the best interest of ratepayers to provide energy stability, preserve the state’s largest carbon-free energy source, and keep energy rates down.

“I want to thank all the lawmakers who came together to recognize the importance of protecting a vital energy source ratepayers rely on every day by passing this combined appraisal and implementation legislation,” said State Senator Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), co-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee who led the passage of the bill in the Senate. “This legislation is a win-win for ratepayers throughout our state and one of Connecticut’s major employers. Preserving Millstone’s ability to compete in the market is vital to maintaining the state’s energy stability and stopping the disastrous situation that would occur if Millstone closed. Millstone provides over half of Connecticut’s daily power and 30 percent of the power for all of New England. If the plant were to close, more than half of all of New England’s electric power would have to be supplied by gas-powered facilities. Connecticut simply does not have that kind of capacity. That dramatic increased demand for natural gas, especially in the cold winter months, would lead to skyrocketing energy costs and ratepayers would suffer.”

The legislation will direct the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to complete an appraisal of the current and future condition of New England’s nuclear facilities.  The agency will be required to implement recommendations made by the appraisal by May 1, 2018 if determined to be in the best interest of ratepayers. The legislation does not provide any subsidies. Rather, the bill would allow DEEP and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) to determine if it is in the best interest of ratepayers to remove the middleman and allow nuclear facilities to sell power directly to utilities to lock in long-term stable prices through a competitive process.

The appraisal will investigate the economic conditions of New England’s nuclear facilities and the impact of what would happen to the state’ s electric markets, greenhouse gas goals and the state, local and regional economies if those plants closed. Throughout the country, changing markets are resulting in nuclear plants closing in many states. With those closings comes a reduction in available power and challenges for states that rely significantly on such plants for energy needs. This legislation requires the state to complete an appraisal by January 1, 2018 and act on its findings on or before May 1, 2018.

“We have to slowly move our state over time to renewable resources, but carbon-free nuclear energy must remain a part of that transition to bridge the gap. Without it, our state’s energy system as we know it today would collapse, and ratepayers would be the ones struggling. Dominion made it very clear that without state action, they would reconsider their presence in our state. Not only would that mean devastation for ratepayers, but it would wreak havoc on the local economy. Millstone employs 1500 people and contributes $1.5 billion to the state’s economy. This legislation is first and foremost about ratepayers throughout the state. But we also cannot ignore its personal impact on thousands of local families in Southeastern Connecticut as well. I urge the House of Representatives to join the Senate in approving this much needed legislation to proactively address our state’s changing energy needs,” said Sen. Formica.

The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 23 to 9. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.